Remembering the young freedom fighter who inspired a generation

Ram Prasad Bismil (June 11, 1897 – December 19, 1927) was an Indian poet, writer and revolutionary who participated in the Mainpuri Conspiracy of 1918 and the Kakori Conspiracy of 1925, and fought against the British Raj. He was among the most notable Indian revolutionaries who fought against British colonialism and allowed the nation to breathe the air of freedom after centuries of struggle against imperial forces.

Born in a nondescript village in Shahjahanpur district, Uttar Pradesh, Murlidhar and Moolmati, he was associated with the Arya Samaj from an early age.

Bismil started writing powerful patriotic poems in Urdu and Hindi under the pseudonyms of “Bismil”, “Ram” and “Agyat”. The ideals of freedom and revolution first became ingrained in his mind after reading the death sentence passed on Bhai Parmanand, an Indian nationalist and Arya Samaj missionary. He gave vent to his anger in the form of his poem “Mera Janm”. He was then only 18 years old.

Bismil got his name engraved as a prominent freedom fighter with his participation in the Mainpuri conspiracy of 1918. Bismil along with Genda Lal Dixit, a teacher from Auraiya, organized youths from Etahwah districts, Mainpuri , Agra and Shahjahanpur to strengthen their organizations, ‘Matrivedi’ and ‘Shivaji Samiti’. He published a pamphlet titled “Deshwasiyon ke Naam” and distributed it along with his poem “Mainpuri ki Pratigya” on January 28, 1918. To raise funds for the parties, they looted government coffers.

Kakori Incident

On August 9, 1925, several revolutionaries including Chandrashekhar Azad, Bismil, Ashfaq Ulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri and Roshan Singh looted a train that was carrying the treasure of the British Empire. They looted the train between Kakori and Alamnagar near Lucknow.

Born in 1897, Bismil was a poet turned revolutionary. Kakori’s conspiracy is still considered one of the most valiant revolts against unjust and harsh British rule here. It was mentioned as being a message to the British that they cannot get away with taking money from the Indians for their personal use. Ashfaq Ulla Khan was born in Shahjahanpur and he was a close friend of Bismil. Just like Bismil, Khan was also a poet.

During the court hearing, Ram Prasad Bismil said, “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna Ab Hamare Dil Me Hain, Dekhna Hai Zor Kitna Bazu-e-Katil Me Hai?


On December 19, 1927, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaq Ulla Khan and Roshan Singh were hanged by the British for their rebellion and revolt to help India gain independence. He was hanged at Gorakhpur Jail and his body was taken to the Rapti River for Hindu cremation.

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Thelma J. Longworth